(Grand Rapids, Mich - January 10, 2011) - Girl Scouts across northern and western Michigan are gearing up for the annual Girl Scout Cookie Program, which kicks off January 22 and runs through April 16, 2011.
The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led business in the country, generating over $750 million for girls and communities nationwide. But, the program is more than just a fundraiser - it helps girls gain the courage, confidence and character to become tomorrow's leaders.
"Girls look forward to participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program each year because it's not only fun and exciting, but it's a real world business experience," said Taryn Myers, product sales director for Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore.
In fact, the core of the Girl Scout Cookie Program focuses on teaching girls five essential skills including goal setting, business ethics, money management, decision making, and people skills - all which will help girls in their future, whatever they choose to do.
"It takes a lot of confidence for a girl to go up to someone and ask them to buy a box of cookies," explained Myers. "What a great way for girls to learn people skills and build their confidence."
This year, Girl Scouts can also track their goals online and even become part of a safe, online Cookie Club asking their friends and families to purchase cookies. And because girls are now even more internet savvy, they can secure orders through social networks; however, Girl Scouts cannot collect money online for the purchases.
"It's amazing to see what each girl comes up with and watch them achieve their goals," said Myers. "We have some really talented future entrepreneurs, which is what the Girl Scout Cookie Program is all about. It's even been credited by many businesswomen as the place they learned their early business skills."
Girl Scout Cookies are $3.50 a box, and all proceeds stay within the Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore council to help fund girl-led programming. A portion of the proceeds also goes directly to the girls, whether individually or in a troop, for service projects, trips or to participate in special events.
"It's important to let people know that the Girl Scout Cookie Program is more than just a "sale" - it's a leadership program for the girls," said Gloria Lara, chief executive officer for Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore. "Every cookie has a mission; to help girls do great things, and our girls certainly take that to heart."
During the 2011 Girl Scout Cookie Program, Girl Scouts will continue to support the community by offering the Gift of Caring option to all consumers, where they can purchase cookies and elect to have them donated to the Gift of Caring charity.
"Gift of Caring is a great way for those individuals who may not be able to enjoy the cookies for dietary reasons or other reasons to support the girls and give back to the community," explained Lara. "The girls have the choice to donate the cookies back to the council-sponsored charity or they can choose a charity of their own."
This year, the Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore is proud to partner with Michigan Blood as the official council-sponsored Gift of Caring charity.
The 2011 Girl Scout Cookie Program starts with initial pre-orders from January 22 to February 14, 2011. Girl Scouts will also be selling cookies at various Cookie Booths throughout the council's 30 counties in northern and western Michigan. Cookie Booths will take place March 26 through April 16, 2011.
"Cookie Booths are a great way to purchase cookies," said Myers. "We'll have a Cookie Booth locator on our website so those wanting cookies can type in their zip code and be directed to a time and place to get their favorite variety."
The Girl Scout Cookie varieties include Thin Mints, Samoas, Lemon Chalet Cremes, Trefoils, Do-Si-Dos, Dulce de Leche, Thank U Berry Munch, and Tagalongs.
For more information on the Girl Scout Cookie Program including nutritional information please visit www.gsmists.org/product-sales/cookies or the Cookie Press Room at www.gsmists.org/Product-Sales/cookies_pressroom